The conclusion of a recent GOP McLaughlin poll, funded by a grantee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was that there is only “anecdotal evidence” that the Common Core standards are a “red-hot” electoral issue. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), however, appears to know differently.
His responses to questions about Common Core show the nationalized standards are so much a significant electoral issue this year that he’s not talking about them – for fear of making a mistake.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reported Tuesday that when asked about his support for the controversial Common Core standards, Alexander responded with a laugh, “I always choose my words carefully.”
“Four words that would solve the Common Core problem are: no national school board,” Alexander continued. “I think Tennesseans want high standards for our children. They just want Washington to keep its sticky fingers off our local schools,” he said.
“It’s up to Gov. Haslam and the Legislature what the standards are here. It ought to be 100 percent their decision,” he added.
However, as Breitbart News reported in March, Alexander’s message of “no national school board” is actually a red herring since there is no “national school board” issue, per se, on the table.
Similarly, when asked about his support for Haslam’s (R) and Jeb Bush’s (R) promotion of Common Core, Alexander once again evaded the question, saying, “Let’s don’t talk about Common Core.”
Alexander’s evasive and confused comments were noted by Tennessee state Rep. Joe Carr (R) who is opposing the incumbent in the Republican primary. Carr spoke to Breitbart News on Tuesday.
“Lamar Alexander had an opportunity as U.S. Education Secretary to show his Tenth Amendment bona fides,” Carr said. “Unfortunately, he helped make the Education Department bigger and more intrusive.”
Alexander served as U.S. Education Secretary under President George H.W. Bush from 1991-1993.
Carr observes Alexander’s persistent need to choose his words carefully about the Common Core standards.
“He always laughs about his avoidance of the topic,” he said. “Misleading the voters about your support of Common Core is no laughing matter.”
Carr says he believes Obamacare and Common Core are the two major electoral issues that are primary concerns for Americans. The state representative is also very open about the fact that he voted for his state’s participation in the Race to the Top program in 2009, a decision he says was “the wrong choice.”
“The fact is, states don’t have a final say with Common Core. And there is no school choice with Common Core,” Carr added. “These standards are about big business and big government getting together to manipulate curriculum through testing.”
Carr has helped lead the fight in the Tennessee General Assembly this past session in an effort to repeal the Common Core. The tough battle left the state with a one-year delay in PARCC testing, which is aligned with the centralized standards, but no delay of Common Core itself. Though the state House overwhelmingly passed a bill to delay Common Core for two years, a fiscal note added in the state Senate helped to defeat the measure.
“If Common Core is designed by governors for states, then why is the federal government giving states grants and waivers to federal restrictions in No Child Left Behind (NCLB) for accepting the standards?” Carr asks.
The state representative told Breitbart News that Tennessee received $504 million in grants through President Obama’s stimulus program, Race to the Top, as well as a waiver for relief from NCLB restrictions.
Ultimately, Carr believes the nation does not need a Department of Education.
“Why do we need a so-called education department with a $70 billion budget that doesn’t teach a single student?” he asks. “Since Jimmy Carter started the USDE, we have had one failed national education experiment after another. Education should be left to the states and local communities.”
Carr is encouraged in his bid for the Republican nomination for Tennessee’s U.S. Senate seat.
“We will have an excellent opportunity to defeat Lamar Alexander,” he says. “My name identification is now at 65 percent, according to Rasmussen, even though my campaign is all grassroots-based, with no television ads yet. In our internal polling we’re about tied now at 38-37 percent of those likely voters where we have shared name ID with Lamar.”
“Once we inform voters I’m opposed to amnesty, Common Core, ObamaCare, and have a record of sponsoring legislation that reflects this, people can see the progression and know who I am,” Carr states.